We need to listen again to the biblical criticism of religion. No book, not even by Marx and his followers, is more scathing of empty religion than the Bible. The prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries BC were outspoken in their denunciation of the formalism and hypocrisy of Israelite worship. Jesus then applied their critique to the Pharisees of his day: 'These people ... honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me' (Is. 29:13; Mk. 7:6). And this indictment of religion by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus is uncomfortably applicable to us and our churches today. Too much of our worship is ritual without reality, form without power, fun without fear, religion without God.
--From "The Contemporary Christian" (Leicester and Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), p. 228.
- John R. W. Stott